I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Thomas Nelson. I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.An Amish Gathering by Barbara Cameron, Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller
Published by Thomas Nelson on 2009
Genres: Christian, Fiction, Romance
Source: Thomas Nelson
Join three Amish couples as they experience love amidst life's seasons. As Rebecca mourns her twin sister, Ben seeks to break through her grief. Leah would rather write than be a good fraa, but her spirit captures Aaron's heart. And when Josiah falls for Amanda, he learns about letting go of the past.
A Change of Heart by Beth Wiseman
Leah is no good at cooking, cleaning, sewing, gardening—the skills that young women need to make a proper Amish wife. All she wants to do is write stories, but she’s sincerely tired of being a disappointment. Will she ever find someone who accepts her just as she is?
I’m really excited to be able to dig into this collection this month. I’ve recently read a couple of novella collections that are more a ‘circle letter’ so to speak. Each story blends into and links back to the ones previously. The same community, the same time frame, and a woven story; one picking up where the previous left off just with a new couple you’ve already sorta met. Leah is the antithesis of every single Amish girl to probably have ever lived and that I’ve ever read about. Cooking? I can make a sandwich. Cleaning? It’s good enough. Sewing? You didn’t want that seam straight anyway right? Chores in general? Let me finish this thought OK? The parentals are convinced she’ll never find a husband with her glaring lack of domestic skills. They are convinced that everything she is passionate about is not proper for an Amish woman. Let’s face it though, my absolute favorite part of this novel is Auntie Ruth. Former Amish (never baptized so not shunned) who regularly visits her family with her bold personality and outlandish spirit. She fit right in at Sunday worship as a $100 bill in the penny jar. Ruth is the true catalyst for Leah to find her place in her own skin and in her community. This first story is an amazing kick-off to an amazing collection.
When Winter Comes by Barbara Cameron
It’s been too long since Rebecca has done what she loves—put on her skates and fly across the ice. Five years have passed since a winter accident took her twin Lizzie and left Rebecca heartbroken. And Ben has waited for her all that time. At last she’s starting to heal. But has too much time passed for their hearts to reconnect?
We met Rebecca briefly in ‘A Change of Heart’ and her friendship of sorts with Ben. In this novella we learn a lot more about this amazing young woman and the typical male that is Ben. For the love of gravy man don’t propose to a woman by saying ‘we suit’ and never mention the L word. For. The. Love. Of. Gravy. Perhaps I got too far ahead of myself and dropped a pretty decent spoiler. Sorry? Not really. Rebecca and Ben bring out the Gibbs in me. I’m sorry, they just do. This entire story is really just me sitting in the background smacking them in alternating turns. Don’t get me wrong, Rebecca has my heart with her grief over losing her sister and her sense of responsibility to that event. Rebecca has my heart as she stands doesn’t allow herself to be bullied for seeking outside help instead of ‘just turning to God’. Rebecca doesn’t settle for what she thinks is less than what she deserves. It may have taken five long years but she’s laying that mantle aside and looking forward to her life. A life without her sister, filled with things her twin will never experience, but her life. God’s will. However the ending left me a lot off guard and a lot feeling left aside. I can’t say much without giving a ton away but I do hope that Kathleen finishes out the unfinished business in the final novella in this collection.
A Place of His Own by Kathleen Fuller
When Josiah left Paradise the first time, he didn’t even say good-bye. Now he’s back, ten years later, and he’s changed. Why is he so distant and bitter? Where is the boy who used to be Amanda’s best friend? Amanda is learning that there are things even a capable Amish girl can’t fix. But can she stand there and watch him walk away . . . again?
Remember the old Bontrager place that Ben had given thought to trying to buy in ‘When Winter Comes’? Abandoned, in desperate need of repair? Yup that house? Well Josiah’s family home has been empty since he and his father left town (without a goodbye mind you!) ten years ago. Until now that is. It’s going on a year after Ben and Rebecca get together and Josiah is back with ten plus years of secrets in his heart and a lot of baggage attached to his soul. Amanda Graber don’t give two wits about any of that. Her childhood bestie is back in town and in her heart the intervening years changes nothing. For her perhaps not but for him…nothing is the same. Josiah drove me a little bonkers. OK, I get it that sometimes there are things you don’t feel open or safe with sharing. With anyone. Even your childhood bestie. Here’s the thing, he moped around a bit like a teenage girl desperate for attention. ‘I refuse to go there.’ ‘I won’t tell anyone the truth about where I’ve been.’ Suddenly cornered in the barn it all spills out. It felt disingenuous and a bit teenage girl. What came from that moment though was pure golden. I loved how childhood besties could, even after a decade apart, could still find that love they shared and the healing that comes with love. Love for each other, love for community and most importantly love for God. I loved how Leah and Aaron came back into play, married now. And Ben and Rebecca are engaged. However, there’s no clearing up from the unfinished business of the last story. I still need to know!
Not one of these novellas over-arched to try to become more than a novella. There was no long-term need to exist with back stories and epilogues. Yes, there were things left unfinished (Ben!) but that’s as it should be. A moment, a snapshot. And this is a perfect example of what novellas should be.